Essay Sample on COVID-19 as Environmental Injustice

Published: 2024-01-11
Essay Sample on COVID-19 as Environmental Injustice
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination Environment Covid 19
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 954 words
8 min read


COVID-19 has exposed many environmental injustices that occur between people of color and their white counterparts. In many developed countries, and especially the United States of America (USA), the impact of this disease has shown a great discrepancy that exists in the lives of these two groups of people. Firstly, it is important to define environmental injustice before embarking on discussing its relationship with this pandemic. This concept of environmental injustice refers to the unfair and unequal exposure of people of color to pollution and its effects on their health and the environment. It also refers to the disproportionate environmental protection that people receive through the development, enforcement, and implementation of environmental laws and policies. This unequal environmental system in this country makes some areas have better environments compared to others.

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Poor Environmental Structures

For many years, citizens of this country have been divided according to the color of their skin, and this differentiation has affected their work and the places where they live. Particularly, many African Americans, Latinos, and Indigenous people are more likely to live in congested areas that have poor environmental structures compared to Whites. Moreover, they are most likely to have front-line occupations that they cannot do from home. Specifically, the 2018 census data shows that more than 40% of Blacks and Latinos are employed in such production and service works, while about 25% of Whites hold such jobs.

Now, these jobs normally involve staying in risky environments, which contain some fine air-borne particles, effluent chemicals, and other harmful pollutants. The people living close to industries producing these pollutants and those working in them usually end up inhaling these effluents, which then affect their lungs. At this point, it is crucial to mention that some of these industries are located close to each other in heavily populated areas such as Detroit in the US. This region has many industries and an active transport system that includes ports, road networks, and railway lines. This system produces many pollutants that affect the health of the residents of the area.

As the whole world is battling the COVID-19 virus, towns that have a high percentage of colored people have had the highest number of cases and fatalities. These communities have faced many cases of environmental injustices for years, and these instances have weakened them. For instance, the inhalation of fine particles affects these individuals' lungs and leaves them weaker than they were before. Moreover, these industrial effluents have exposed these people to other health conditions such as asthma, cancer, and many other problems. These effects come to form the unfair application of environmental policies, which leaves these people with environments that are heavily polluted. Now, when such people are exposed to the virus, their immunity and bodies find it hard to combat the disease, and this leads to fatalities.

Environmental Injustice

Another case of environmental injustice that people of color get relates to their population density. A place like Detroit has a significantly large population density and most of them lack the essentials that whites have. For instance, these individuals share spaces such as bathrooms, toilets, and they mainly use public transport vehicles. These factors make it hard for these people to live far apart, and therefore, it becomes hard for them to maintain some distance apart. This factor increases their defenselessness to infectious diseases, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. When an individual in the estate contracts this disease, they are likely to spread it to many other people due to the poor design of their environment that makes them live in congested homes. In such cases, if environmental regulations were implemented equally for all people, these people of color would not live in such conditions. They would have cleaner environments without pollutants, which would reduce their susceptibility to the virus. Several researchers have shown that communities of color living in areas having small particles in the air are more likely to experience fatalities from the disease.

Many poor communities in the country also lack proper medical insurance. Therefore, when exposed to the disease, such a person would not find medical help easily. Should such a person get exposed to the virus, it becomes hard for them to seek help due to the lack of medical insurance, and it could make the person start experiencing worse symptoms and conditions than their white counterparts. These persons also have low incomes, and therefore, without medical insurance, it is hard for them to afford a hospital. Moreover, since many of these individuals have been affected by the impacts of living in a polluted environment, it becomes even harder for them to survive the COVID-19 virus should they contact it.


If there is something that COVID-19 has done well, it is exposing the environmental injustices that exist in this country. It has impacted these people unequally with these non-whites experiencing more cases than people of color. This disease has shown the country areas that it needs to rectify. Specifically, it has shown the need of protecting the environment using the same environmental policies. Had this step been implemented before, then most of the colored people in the country would still be in good health. Therefore, based on the many cases of environmental injustices that have existed in this country for a long, COVID-19 has had serious effects on the nation. Implementing these strategies would reduce the severity of this disease to people of color. It is also crucial to mention that while some people state that some races are weaker than others, this is a false analysis since race does not represent any genetic differences. The only factor that makes many Latinos and African Americans to experience these effects is the high cases of environmental injustice against them.

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